Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog

Dear Reader I am sensing a pattern. It seems that many of the big European cities have huge hills that are the main park. I first stumbled upon this in Nice and then again in Prague when we discovered Petřín Hill.  And I’m not talking about a little park or some artificially made spaces here, no no no. We are talking acres of land. Well, we found yet another in Budapest. Welcome to our day discovering Gellért Hill.

Like so much of Budapest, this pretty hillside park has evolved a lot over the centuries. From wild space to the peaceful vineyards of the 18th century and on to military action of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and everything in between. Imagine if the trees could talk.  

On the edge of the park we saw an affluent residential area, with what looked like a number of ambassadorial residences lining the streets. But for the most part its parkland where hedgehogs and bats are the most observed variety of wildlife. Sadly, and much to my chagrin, I saw neither. But I did notice that the pathway was often made of unusual material! SO cool. It pays to look down sometimes!

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

Wood blacks. How very unusual. We also saw stone, cement, dirt… (Mom’s favourite travel shoe)

We started our climb and quickly came across some very interesting art. It was a bit of a surprise but there it was. An amazing statue depicting the “marriage” of Buda to Pest. I really loved it and found it a touching way of honoring what must have been a difficult merging at the time.

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

SO neat right?  Buda (left) and Pest (Right)

We came across a lot of art on our climb up. It’s one of the best things about big open spaces and parkland. The surprise of art behind a curve of the path, or around the bend. Sometimes discreet and hidden. Sometimes large and looming. Some statues recent others older. There was no real rhyme or reason to how they evolved along our path. They simply were there for us to see. The bipeds seemed very fond of them all.

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

Joining the great thinkers of the world.

All I know is that there were LOTS of stairs and pathways and I was having an absolute fantastic off-leash time! I was alaso surprised at how few people we saw. I found out later it’s because you CAN access the top by bus. We had taken the long way around it seems.

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

Stairs always put a bounce in my step! (following Dad)

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

Can we take a moment to enjoy the fall colors here?

One of the most impressive monuments – because it is so much more than a statue – is the Saint Gellért Monument. It’s a multilevel thing complete with an artificial waterfall. And high on top is a statue of Bishop Gellért holding a cross while boldly (aggressively?) looking over Budapest.

I had to look this chap up and it turns out that Bishop Gellért first came to Hungary from Italy around the year 1000 to convert Hungarians to Christianity.  Many of the local tribesmen whose families had settled the area 100 years earlier, resisted the conversion. When they had enough of his preaching, they rolled Bishop Gellért down the hill in a barrel to his death. I guess that’s one way to do it. Shortly after Gellért’s death, Stephen I became the first King of Hungary. He was a Christian. As the population converted their view of the Bishop changed to one of a martyr. So they made him a Saint.

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

So yeah … THAT is a view. Hello Budapest!

We tore ourselves away from the view to keep our upward trek until we made it to the Liberation Monument (Szabadság Szobor). Sitting high above Budapest, the 46 foot tall Liberation Statue stands on a 84 foot tall pedestal while lifting a palm leaf toward the city as a symbol of peace.

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

You can FEEL the communist vibe off these statues. I felt it appropriate to wear my Cameo harness.

The monument was built in 1947 in remembrance of the Soviet liberation of Hungary from Nazi forces during World War II. I was told by a local chap that originally the Monument was surrounded by a bunch of Soviet themed statues including a 10 foot tall Soviet solider planting his flag and a 20 foot tall Soviet solider holding machine guns. But, when Communism in Hungary fell in 1989, these Soviet solider statues were removed from the city and moved South to Monument Park (Szoborpark). The main statue of the Liberation Monument was allowed to stay, but with a tweak. They removed the inscriptions supporting the Soviets in favor of, “To the memory of all of those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and success of Hungary.”  The only supporting statues remaining at the Monument are a female figure holding the torch of progress and a young man’ killing a dragon which represents the defeat of fascism.

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

Very proud and uplifting.

We didn’t make it inside, but we walked around the formidable Citadel. Built by the Habsburg dynasty in 1854 the fortress may look like it was built to defend the people, but in reality it was there to demonstrate the Habsburgs’ control over the Hungarians. You see, from the hill’s vantage point; cannons could hit both Pest and Buda to silence any future uprising. Talk about “big brother watching over you”! But in 1867 Austria and Hungary joined and the Citadel was handed over to the local citizens who promptly destroyed much of it. It so it remained insignificant until WWII when both German and Hungarian forces made it a joint stronghold to fight off the Allies. In a twist of events, the Citadel ended up being vital to the Soviets in WWII when they gained control of it and used the position to bomb the Nazis.

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

The outer wall of the Citadel complete with bullet and canon holes!

It’s difficult not to be stunned by how much death and such this most beautiful palce has seen. There is also an amazing cave to be visited… and beautiful garden …but by now our legs were wobbly and we were hungry and we took the main road back down to Buda for a lovely dinner along the Danube.

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

I imagine in the glory of summer this must be something else!

Well worth the visit, I would recommend this to anyone visiting the Buda side. It felt good to be surrounded by so much nature for most of the day. And the views… just stellar. And don’t worry about getting lost – the trails are all marked! Pick a symbol (related to how hard you want the trek to be – this one was advanced) and follow it to the top!

Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog Montecristo Travels

I agree with our guidebooks assessment – this was “advanced” level. The stairs alone… SO worth it!

Is there a park on a hill in your city?

26 Comments on “Visiting Gellért Hill Budapest with a Small Dog

  1. Fascinating. I love Eastern Europe. I never get to travel but if I ever did, that’s the part of the world I’d like to go visit!

  2. Advanced is right! But since so many others took the bus to the top, it sounds like climbing this hill was well worth the time and effort. I hope you ordered something delicious for desert along the Danube! Favorite photo in this post shockingly does not feature Montecristo. The pathway of wood blocks looks gorgeous. Did they wobble at all?

  3. I also love that Buda + Pest statue. Very evocative. There’s several parks on hills here including one just blocks from our house. People sled down it in the winter.

  4. Wow, what a beautiful tour you took us on. I love those wood blocks. Great shot of the view of Budapest! It’s nice that the trails are marked with symbols. I would so get lost!

  5. I love visiting places that are rich in history and art it just makes the visit more interesting and this park looks amazing. I would also have wobbly legs after climbing up all that way but as you said well worth it

  6. When I saw the first photo, all I could think was “what an interesting story that must be!” I’m so glad that you shared more about it! It looks like you had another great adventure!

  7. Wow what a place and, as usual, some wonderful pictures to add to the marvellous text. It’s almost like being there!

    I love the sky in your park picture and as for the view WOW. Is this the one from the top of the ‘steep’ steps? If so, I agree, worth it it definitely is!

  8. What great photos of an amazing place! Even though you could take the bus to the top, I don’t think I would want to — think of all you’d miss!

  9. One of the more European-style cities in North America also has a large hill as a park–Montreal.

    Lovely city. One I’ve wanted to visit for a long time.

  10. What a stunning place to visit! I’m so jealous of all that wide open dog friendly space. Here in New York, especially the part we live in now there is so little space. It’s super crowded and congested and many spaces are off limits to dogs. I absolutely LOVE that statue of Buda & Pest, it’s incredible.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  11. This is a beautiful place! I don’t think I knew that the name of the city came from the marriage of Buda and Pest. We do have a large park in our city and I know there are some special days where dogs are celebrated, but I’m not sure if they are allowed all the time. Thank you for sharing this.

  12. It’s wonderful place merit to visit and discover it’s monuments. The pictures you took are beautiful. Thanks for this nice article.

  13. I would LOVE to visit Hungary, but because of the strict doggie travel laws in the UK I wouldn’t be able to my little pal. :-(

    • What do you mean? Quarantine was dropped in 2012. And you can drive out via the Tunnel or take the ferry to France and go from there… I know tons of UK dogs that travel!

  14. Oh my goodness what a beautiful little dog. Such a cutie. I would want to take my dogs everywhere I go! I don’t go on a holiday that often, so I usually keep my pets at home. But my little one, who kind of looks like yours, would be delighted to come on trips with me.

  15. Morning Montecristo!

    I’m canvassing for our friend who is collecting stories about people and their pets.

    We’d love to have yours on the gallery to add to the show of people who love and care for animals.

    Please pass this message on to your parents?

    All the best,

    The Ed.

      • Well bless your little furball heart for making us aware. We tried the link and it worked then it did then it didn’t then it did…that’s the internet for you!

        If you’d like to be on the gallery we sent you the long link via your email.

        All the best beautiful and say hi to your parents :)

        • We will look into it. We are very particular about how and where our “stuff’ goes and have software in place to let us know when someone copies text or images. When we allow third party access we loose that control. :)

  16. Oh, a really beautiful place.such a beautiful dog with statues. the pictures you took are beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • We try. It’s only an iphone and sometimes I think we should invest in more camera power but … this is what works for us. thanks for stopping in!

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